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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Just what the hell does "dumbed down" even mean anyway?

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180 posts found
  Alberel

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/09
Posts: 1121

3/19/10 11:22:53 PM#21
Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe
Originally posted by Sanisar

I think you are missing the point, or refusing to see it.  If the game is produced identically on both platforms (one for one as you say) then obviously the PC version isn't going to be any more 'intelligent'.  The phrase generally stems from the severely decreased demand of independent actions within a short window of time; this type of activity is possible on PC yet not on consoles (due to button limitations) so the mechanics have to be 'dumbed-down' to facilitate this limitation, which in turn negatively impacts PC users who would be capable of more actions.

I'll give an example.  In most MMOs i use around 40ish hotkeys per character on a regular basis, even with complex 2-3 button combinations (modifiers) on a standard controller you quickly hit a wall with the possibilities.  Another example, professional RTS players average from 200-400 APM (Actions per minute) on the typical keyboard/mouse setup, this just isn't possible on a controller and while you can port a RTS to console you can't play it anywhere near as effeciently.  This is why every game you mentioned is played professionally on PC and not consoles.  As far as I'm aware only Halo is played professionally on consoles and it's just a tiny blip in the pro FPS scene.

Also, as far as MMOs go the hardware becomes a limiting factor when you are talking about rendering hundreds of players at a time and constantly upgrading technology over the years.  The only solution is to limit how many players appear at a time on screen (presumably through instancing) which most players feel is another form of 'dumbing-down'.

You mean something like this:

 

.... um, yeah... no console could ever do that... (except the XBox 360)....

I guess the real answer to your question is that because of the limitations of controllers versus keyboard/mouse and the limitations of hardware that will never be upgraded (in this gen consoles anyhow) games consequently have to be designed within these limitations that wouldn't be present with a PC only version of a game.

Even simpler:  Dumbed-down = limited by console technology where a PC only version wouldn't be.

 

Wow.... I haven't heard anyone outside of the Starcraft community talke aobut Actions per minute.....

Um... Are you by any chance Korean?

I think enough people have already pointed out exactly what dumbing down is and I agree with them, so I'm not going to add to that. But the picture you've shown there has all the characters in identical armour (bar one) and all controlled by AI. This is many many times easier to process for the system than a huge number of unique-looking player-controlled characters. When you're dealing with many players in one area the computer has to load up everyone's individually customised characters and equipment as well as deal with their independently controlled actions; the former will cause huge computer lag, the latter will cause huge server lag.

  Bathnor

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/12/09
Posts: 132

3/19/10 11:54:21 PM#22

I think Morrowind is a dumbed down game. The land is much to small and they cut a lot of the fun skills from Daggerfall and Arena.

Mmos can get dumbed down as well.

  Jimmy_Scythe

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 3602

 
OP  3/20/10 2:36:01 AM#23
Originally posted by Bathnor

I think Morrowind is a dumbed down game. The land is much to small and they cut a lot of the fun skills from Daggerfall and Arena.

Mmos can get dumbed down as well.

 

yeah, but is that because of the platform or because the graphics took up memory that was an order of magnitude larger than the other two games. Clearly they went for detailed artwork rather than a large quantity of lower poly, low textured artwork. Take a look at the shots.

Elder Scrolls: Arena

Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall

Elder Scrolls: Morrowind

Now that's quite a jump. Considering that the first two games were 2.5D, It's understandable how they were able to create such a massive world. Bitmaps may take up more room than a 3D mesh + textures, but you can organize them in a manner that is way more compact than any representation of 3D space.

I don't see the XBox as being the limiting factor here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2if5GYXOGyo

  Jimmy_Scythe

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 3602

 
OP  3/20/10 2:47:29 AM#24
Originally posted by Alberel
Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe
Originally posted by Sanisar

I think you are missing the point, or refusing to see it.  If the game is produced identically on both platforms (one for one as you say) then obviously the PC version isn't going to be any more 'intelligent'.  The phrase generally stems from the severely decreased demand of independent actions within a short window of time; this type of activity is possible on PC yet not on consoles (due to button limitations) so the mechanics have to be 'dumbed-down' to facilitate this limitation, which in turn negatively impacts PC users who would be capable of more actions.

I'll give an example.  In most MMOs i use around 40ish hotkeys per character on a regular basis, even with complex 2-3 button combinations (modifiers) on a standard controller you quickly hit a wall with the possibilities.  Another example, professional RTS players average from 200-400 APM (Actions per minute) on the typical keyboard/mouse setup, this just isn't possible on a controller and while you can port a RTS to console you can't play it anywhere near as effeciently.  This is why every game you mentioned is played professionally on PC and not consoles.  As far as I'm aware only Halo is played professionally on consoles and it's just a tiny blip in the pro FPS scene.

Also, as far as MMOs go the hardware becomes a limiting factor when you are talking about rendering hundreds of players at a time and constantly upgrading technology over the years.  The only solution is to limit how many players appear at a time on screen (presumably through instancing) which most players feel is another form of 'dumbing-down'.

You mean something like this:

 

.... um, yeah... no console could ever do that... (except the XBox 360)....

I guess the real answer to your question is that because of the limitations of controllers versus keyboard/mouse and the limitations of hardware that will never be upgraded (in this gen consoles anyhow) games consequently have to be designed within these limitations that wouldn't be present with a PC only version of a game.

Even simpler:  Dumbed-down = limited by console technology where a PC only version wouldn't be.

 

Wow.... I haven't heard anyone outside of the Starcraft community talke aobut Actions per minute.....

Um... Are you by any chance Korean?

I think enough people have already pointed out exactly what dumbing down is and I agree with them, so I'm not going to add to that. But the picture you've shown there has all the characters in identical armour (bar one) and all controlled by AI. This is many many times easier to process for the system than a huge number of unique-looking player-controlled characters. When you're dealing with many players in one area the computer has to load up everyone's individually customised characters and equipment as well as deal with their independently controlled actions; the former will cause huge computer lag, the latter will cause huge server lag.

 

You mean like this:

or this...

Alright, so the EQOA pic isn't that impressive but you get my point. MMOs have been done on consoles before. There is no reason why they can't be done on consoles again.

And just because something is on the console doesn't automatically make it for retards. "The fewer the rules of a game, the more complex the mind must be to master it" I believe is the old axiom.

110 hotkeys, brick thick manuals and stragegy guides do not make a game deep or intelligent. They just put on a good show before someone wades through all the crap and finds the most cheap, broke ass strategy. There are plenty of people with that kind of time on their hands, and that's the reason you have never ending patches. The designers themselves have added so much worthless shit that they can't even tell where the game is broken.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2if5GYXOGyo

  ThomasN7

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6672

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

3/20/10 2:57:46 AM#25

So simple even a caveman can do it.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5725

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

3/20/10 3:21:10 AM#26

It is something Sanisar and Axehilt wrote.

I don't think "instant gratification" has anything to with being "dumbed down". A game can hold rewards even when it is dumbed down.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  J.Yossarian

Novice Member

Joined: 2/25/10
Posts: 129

3/20/10 5:07:29 AM#27

"Dumbed down" it seems, is often used to describe removing things that didn't require brains to begin with. Such as finding quest mobs, running long distances or simply waiting. It's a silly phrase, poorly defined and usually misused, much like "deep".

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5404

3/20/10 5:47:30 AM#28

The phrase can be ambiguous but the process it represents certainly exists. Games are becoming easier; to increase their potential market as one gaming CEO said “we want everyone and your mom to be able to play them”. This is easiest to identify in game titles which have a long history.

Some examples, all PC:

In the last ‘Prince of Persia’ you could not die. Fall of a ledge and your companion rescues you; you don’t even have a health bar! Compare this to PoP in its earlier versions where one slip and you started from the game generated save point.

In ‘Dead Space’ you have a FPS with an emphasis on horror and your ability to aim your gun. Let one creature get too close and you are dead in seconds. The new one already looks like it will be more blast them, you will be tougher and the game will be easier.

‘Fallout’- in the first two games you could not get rid of your radiation level. So you had to balance going into an area with the fact you could die before the game was over from radiation. In FO3 you get radiation removers.

MMO’s themselves are a rich source of ‘dumbing down’. Less focusing on raids, less need to group, simpler quests and the ability in cash shop games to actually buy your level without actually playing to get it.

So the phrase is and odd one, but the process is very real.

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7488

3/20/10 6:21:50 AM#29


Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe

110 hotkeys, brick thick manuals and stragegy guides do not make a game deep or intelligent. They just put on a good show before someone wades through all the crap and finds the most cheap, broke ass strategy.


One favoured strategy is a matter of balance, the game can still have depth.

I would say you refer to being 'dumbed down' when a complexity and depth of game mechanics is getting replaced by accessibility and easiness to get in so every 'dumb' can play it.

  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 19497

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

3/20/10 6:43:55 AM#30
Originally posted by J.Yossarian

"Dumbed down" it seems, is often used to describe removing things that didn't require brains to begin with. Such as finding quest mobs, running long distances or simply waiting. It's a silly phrase, poorly defined and usually misused, much like "deep".

Actually, trying to locate quest mobs can be challenging, managing travel times and your strategies to minimize them (or use them to your advantage against your enemy) and figuring out the best time to find a mob when others aren't around are actually what can give an MMORPG more depth.

The removal of these things is in fact part of the decline in terms of challenge vs accessibility that most MMORPG makers have chosen today which is why fans of the earlier games decry them and use terms like dumbed down, over simplified and unchallenging.

 

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
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  J.Yossarian

Novice Member

Joined: 2/25/10
Posts: 129

3/20/10 6:49:29 AM#31
Originally posted by Scot

 

‘Fallout’- in the first two games you could not get rid of your radiation level. So you had to balance going into an area with the fact you could die before the game was over from radiation. In FO3 you get radiation removers.

 

Erm... There was rad away in Fallout 1 and 2, and it wasn't all that hard to find, so you could easily remove radiation.

  Amathe

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1666

3/20/10 10:35:35 AM#32

This NPC with the gigantic yellow question mark over his head knows the answer to what dumbed down means. He is marked on your gps satellite map so that you can find him without needing to read the quest text. And you can use a mod that will create a line between you and him in case the satellite map wasn't enough. If you should be killed looking for him there will be no penalty. But that is not likely to happen because unless he is in an instance you will never be in any real danger while you search for him.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7488

3/20/10 10:40:32 AM#33


Originally posted by Amathe

This NPC with the gigantic yellow question mark over his head knows the answer to what dumbed down means. He is marked on your gps satellite map so that you can find him without needing to read the quest text.

Games that do not have such feature or similar mechanics are indeed dumb.

  Ihmotepp

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 10/28/08
Posts: 14557

3/20/10 10:56:26 AM#34
Originally posted by Amathe

This NPC with the gigantic yellow question mark over his head knows the answer to what dumbed down means. He is marked on your gps satellite map so that you can find him without needing to read the quest text. And you can use a mod that will create a line between you and him in case the satellite map wasn't enough. If you should be killed looking for him there will be no penalty. But that is not likely to happen because unless he is in an instance you will never be in any real danger while you search for him.

 

I just don't see how walking up to every NPC is the game until you find the right one is smart or interesting or fun.

It just seems tedious.

I don't like finding NPC's even with the big question marks on their heads. Why do I need to go find a stupid NPC to read the stupid scripted dialog? What's fun about that?

It would be 10x worse to have to go talk to every stupid NPC just to find the right one so I can read the stupid scripted dialog.

It would be like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest so you can get a turd.

Thanks for climbing the whole mountain. Here's a turd!

Thanks for spending hours searching me out and finally finding me. Now let me tell you some stupid scripted dialog about how you can find an old sock I lost! Then, bring the sock back to me, and I'll give you a rusty dagger!

 

 

 

 

  Gdemami

Elite Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7488

3/20/10 11:02:10 AM#35


Originally posted by Ihmotepp
 
I just don't see how walking up to every NPC is the game until you find the right one is smart or interesting or fun.
 

Don't you know the answer?

For some people it is 'hardcore', it does not change the fact it is dumb and tedious though...

  Amathe

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1666

3/20/10 11:05:12 AM#36
Originally posted by Ihmotepp
Originally posted by Amathe

This NPC with the gigantic yellow question mark over his head knows the answer to what dumbed down means. He is marked on your gps satellite map so that you can find him without needing to read the quest text. And you can use a mod that will create a line between you and him in case the satellite map wasn't enough. If you should be killed looking for him there will be no penalty. But that is not likely to happen because unless he is in an instance you will never be in any real danger while you search for him.

 

I just don't see how walking up to every NPC is the game until you find the right one is smart or interesting or fun.

It just seems tedious.  

 


 

The OP's question was not whether any given player likes or doesn't like a particular feature. The question was what does it mean for a game to be dumbed down? Paint by numbers play may be more fun for some people. A LOT of people actually, looking at WoW's numbers. But of course Farmville has a large following too, which takes a lot less thought to play than WoW. So it must be better.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  Garvon3

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/10
Posts: 2943

3/20/10 11:09:15 AM#37
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Ihmotepp
 
I just don't see how walking up to every NPC is the game until you find the right one is smart or interesting or fun.
 

 

Don't you know the answer?

For some people it is 'hardcore', it does not change the fact it is dumb and tedious though...

Nothing to do with being "hardcore", it's immersive. Suddenly, all NPCs seem like they have a purpose, its part of the living virtual world. You talk to some, some just say funny things, others will redirect you to other NPCs that need help. 

Of course, this system worked in games that didn't have quest grinds, might be harder in games like WoW or LotRO, but thats part of the problem of a quest grind game. 

  merieke82

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/09
Posts: 171

3/20/10 11:13:43 AM#38
Originally posted by J.Yossarian
Originally posted by Scot

 

‘Fallout’- in the first two games you could not get rid of your radiation level. So you had to balance going into an area with the fact you could die before the game was over from radiation. In FO3 you get radiation removers.

 

Erm... There was rad away in Fallout 1 and 2, and it wasn't all that hard to find, so you could easily remove radiation.

 

In Fallout 1 I remember getting severe radiation almost to the point of death, then trying to sleep it off, then waking up with super mutant stats and no more radiation. At the time I thought it was completely awesome because I had someone managed to bio-engineer myself. I later found out it was a bug in the game which made my discovery less awesome.

  Amathe

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1666

3/20/10 11:15:55 AM#39
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Ihmotepp
 
I just don't see how walking up to every NPC is the game until you find the right one is smart or interesting or fun.
 

 

Don't you know the answer?

For some people it is 'hardcore', it does not change the fact it is dumb and tedious though...


 

It's not - at least for me - a question of what or who is "hardcore."  I don't care about that.

It's about the difference between a world that has mysteries, suspense, danger, risk, puzzles to solve, challenges to be thought through, meaningful exploration, impediments to gratification, and a need for community, on the one hand, and a virtual pez dispenser of loot and items that merely requires a mouse click for its rewards.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  brostyn

Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/04
Posts: 3120

Cynical? Me? Never.

3/20/10 11:20:20 AM#40

Warhammer dumbed down questing, so that when you opened your map it showed you were to go. How can this not be considered a "dumbing down" process?

"Dumbing down" is taking the challenge out of whatever was "dumbed down". Yes, that can also mean taking what some people consider tedious exercises, and making them instant gratification. Like the ! and ? that signify the start of end of a quest.

Sometimes "dumbing down" makes sense. Sometimes, imo, it kills immersion. Why pay attention to the game world when everything is labeled "?" or "!"? There is no need. I just run mindlessly around looking for those symbols instead of exploring my surroundings.

I think its kind of ironic someone would ask what "dumbing down" means.

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